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Research finds UK is far from a ‘racially just society’

09 Apr 2023 3 minute read
Picture by Helgard Krause

Ethnic and religious minorities in the UK are suffering “strikingly high” levels of abuse, according to a major survey into race equality.

The research by the universities of St Andrews, Manchester and King’s College London found more than one in three people from minority backgrounds have experienced racially motivated physical or verbal abuse.

Released this week in a book called Racism and Ethnic Inequality in a Time of Crisis, the two-year research – which has been seen by The Guardian – discovered widespread inequality and racial discrimination at work, education, housing and dealings with police.

The study was headed by Nissa Finney, professor of human geography at St Andrews, who said it proved racism was “part of daily lives”.

She said: “The UK is immeasurably far from being a racially just society. The kinds of inequality we see in our study would not be there if we had a really just society.”

More than 14,000 people from 21 ethnic groups – which included white British – were questioned for the Economic and Social Research Council-funded survey between February and October 2021.

Among the findings, the survey found more than a quarter of those from minority ethnic groups had experienced racial insults with almost one in three experiencing racism in a public place.

One in six reported suffering racism from neighbours while 17% had suffered damaged property in racist attacks.

Physical assault

Among minority ethnic and religious groups, one in six said they had been victims of racist physical assault prior to the coronavirus pandemic – a figure which increases to one in five Jewish people and more than one in three from Gypsy, Traveller and Roma respondents.

Other findings saw 29% of respondents from ethnic and religious minorities say they had experienced racial discrimination in both education and employment, almost a fifth reporting the same in the search for housing.

Discrimination in dealings with the police was reported by more than one in five of all respondents, but that soared to 43% among black Caribbean groups and more than one in three of those from Gypsy, Traveller and Roma groups.

Overcrowding housing and lack of outdoor space at home were also common responses in the survey.

It found 60% of Roma families lived in overcrowded conditions with a quarter of Pakistani and Arab people reporting the same.

Ethnic identity

Despite the stark findings of inequality, the survey found a sizeable majority of minority groups felt a strong sense of belonging to British society alongside a deep attachment to their ethnic identity.

That sense of belonging is reflected in higher levels of trust than white British people in Parliament and devolved governments, which were elevated during the pandemic when ethnic minorities had an increased chance of contracting Covid-19.

The survey found ethnic minority groups were more likely to experience bereavement related to Covid-19 while Chinese and Asian groups reported a rise in abuse during the pandemic.

And it also found a high degree of political engagement among ethnic minority groups.

Jewish respondents said they were more likely to vote Conservatives with Labour more popular among black African, black Caribbean and Pakistani groups and Liberal Democrats attracting support from Chinese and white Irish and eastern European groups.


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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
10 months ago

The River of Blood flows under Westminster Bridge and into the English Channel carrying the effluence of Fat Shanks and Braverman…

Britain’s latest exporters in a 400 year old trade…

Jack
Jack
10 months ago

We saw the behaviour of English people after the Euros final. No other nationality would behave that way. Wales would solve it’s racism problem by leaving the UK and no longer associating with the English.

Karl
Karl
10 months ago
Reply to  Jack

I agree, we have a natural warm that is being eroded by the English media lies constantly.

Jack
Jack
10 months ago
Reply to  Karl

The idea that racism happens in every country is just a myth told by the English to make themselves feel better.
There’s no racists in Cymru except for English people who move here.

Gafyn
Gafyn
10 months ago

Strange how this article lumps us all in as British. as a Welshman I have been racially abused by travellers once, but lost count of how many times I have been called a sheep shagger by English people. I have, unfortunately, also witnessed fellow Welsh people racially abusing minorities when I was in school.

Jack
Jack
10 months ago
Reply to  Gafyn

All English people are like that. They can’t stand anyone different to themselves. Even the ‘good’ ones are narrow minded racists once you scratch below the surface.

Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
10 months ago
Reply to  Gafyn

Sorry to hear of your abuse, but it must have come from English urbanites with no experience of the countryside. As a rural West Country (Devon) boy, actual sheep shagging was certainly talked about but none of the lads in my friendship group had tried it. I think it must have been dying out as a habit in those days (late 1950s). Incest was, I believe, still going strong. I often heard the comment “If they’m big enough, they’m old enough”. As for abuse of minorities, I think those of us who post on NC should perhaps look take a… Read more »

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